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SECTION IV -- INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

Most delegates said that this section of the text represented a good balance of the various interests involved. Papua New Guinea suggested that it be shortened without losing the essence of its provisions. Chile said that this section deals with two different aspects -- international cooperation and regional fisheries management organizations -- and he suggested that it be divided .

Japan proposed that a new paragraph be added in Part A that deals with mechanisms for international cooperation. This new draft paragraph deals with the effects of actions taken in application of a non-fishery organization that have an implication on the conservation and management measures taken by a fisheries organization or arrangement.

The issue of openness or exclusiveness of the organizations was debated at length, with China arguing that any country, irrespective of its geographical location, has a right and duty to participate in the conservation and management measures of living marine resources in any area of the high seas. States with an interest in the stocks concerned should, therefore, be deleted at the end of paragraph 14. Argentina and others suggested that only those with a fishing interest should be admitted to the regional organization. Uruguay said that those with no interest should not be admitted.

The Russian Federation said that despite the freedom of fishing, certain straddling stocks are fully utilized by the coastal State itself, and a regime should not violate the rights of coastal fishers utilizing the resource on a primary basis. India agreed that the coastal States should have preference in areas adjacent to their EEZs. The EU called for openness and said that exclusiveness could undermine the measures taken on the part of non-members. Korea estimated, and Thailand concurred, that sub-paragraphs a, b, c and d, of paragraph 21 are all discriminatory against new entrants and conferred a preferential treatment on existing members, which is unacceptable.

Norway, supported by the US, Argentina and Chile, answered that the principle of openness should apply, subject only to the terms of participation of the organization itself. Canada agreed and suggested an amendment to that effect, while adding that access would be on a non-discriminatory basis. The Russian Federation said that it had concerns over paragraph 18 and its reference to Article 123 of UNCLOS with regard to enclosed and semi-enclosed seas. He called for a more extended wording of this paragraph.

In paragraph 21, which deals with the criteria for allocation of participatory rights to new members of the organizations and arrangements, Norway said that the criteria should also apply to the distribution of stocks among all members. Both Norway and Canada asked that the biological unity of the stocks be respected in this regard. One cannot simply assume that there are new members but must first look at how the decision to accept new members is taken. Chile also highlighted some important oversights such as decision-making in the organizations and how the organizations are set up. He added that coastal States are a minority and distant water fishing States the majority, but the coastal States are not indifferent to the way in which the organizations are formed or how decisions are taken within them.

Senegal highlighted the importance of international cooperation and regional arrangements to develop fisheries. Several references to coastal fishing communities and coastal developing States gave rise to debate since the EU, Korea and others wanted to delete the word "coastal." The representative of a Latin American State accused the distant water fishing States of just trying to delete any reference to "coastal," wherever it occurred.

The US suggested that reference be made to the integrity of the regional organizations. With regard to sub-paragraphs (g) and (k) of paragraph 20, Thailand argued that they were vesting authority in a supra-national entity that would have jurisdiction over non-members, which is contrary to the law of treaties. Uruguay answered that some obligations apply even to non-parties, as is the case with the protection of endangered species.

Sweden said that with regard to paragraph 14 and access to organizations, the only way to stop over-exploitation is to encourage open membership, and not to restrict it to those States only interested in fishing. A closed membership would exclude new entrants and, thus, discriminate against developing countries, especially if the license fees are high.

Poland suggested that paragraphs 13 and 14 be amalgamated, but that with respect to paragraph 16, he supported the alternative Japanese text. Regarding paragraph 20(d) on data collection, the work of the FAO in drafting the Code of Conduct on Responsible Fishing should be reflected. Speaking in further support of Section IV, Canada suggested regrouping a number of paragraphs to tighten the overall structure. Taking up an earlier point made by the EU, he said he could not support the deletion of "biological characteristics" in paragraph 17(a) with replacement by "biological unity" because biological unity is just one of many characteristics of a fish stock. The EU delegate preferred specific inclusion of "biological unity" in the RNT.

Ukraine commented that international cooperation is the only means of achieving sustainability of fish stocks, but the structure of Section IV is insufficiently clear for translation into a legally-binding document. He favored Chile's restructuring proposal, since the basis for cooperation is chiefly the obligation of the States who harvest the fish stocks. With respect to intergovernmental organizations and NGOs, he supported their admission as observers only. India favored some provision to withhold the transmission of data if it is deemed incompatible with the coastal State's national interest.

Concluding the discussion on Section IV, the World Wide Fund for Nature said that in recognizing the important role played by regional agreements, it is necessary for membership to be open and non-discriminatory and include those parties with an interest in conservation and sustainability.

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